Sometimes I forget to spit out the seeds…

Posts tagged ‘blessed’

The Last First Loose Tooth

My husband thinks I’m a little crazy.  Maybe I am, but I’m fairly certain it’s the standard sort of crazy that comes with being a mom, or maybe just being a woman in general.  He thinks I’m crazy because I get emotional over things like giving away baby clothes, switching from a car seat to a booster, and long “baby” legs hanging off my lap.

My daughter’s loose tooth stirred up emotions in me that, surely, a tiny tooth is unworthy of.  That husband of mine looks at me with a cocked eyebrow and amused smirk whenever these things come up, but I can’t help it.  You see, this daughter….this 4-and-a-half-year-old daughter….she’s our baby.  She’s THE baby.

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It happens in every family.  It isn’t always the same story, but it’s the same ending.  Because childbearing comes to an end.  No one goes on having babies forever.  (Damn, you, menopause!)  Those babies grow, and they grow fast.  Mothers all over the world urge younger mothers to savor it, because it goes by so fast.

Some couples make a decision to be done with adding to their family, and so they know when the last is the last.  They savor every milestone, knowing they won’t observe it ever again.  Maybe that makes it easier, or maybe it makes everything bittersweet.

Some couples think they know when the last is the last, and then are surprised with a second (or third!) round of lasts.  I imagine that’s all kinds of emotional ups and downs.

Some couples don’t realize they are in the “last days” until they are well into them.  Perhaps secondary infertility comes upon them, or they had planned to have more but changed their mind.

I fall into this last camp, of being caught unaware.  My babies arrived at fairly regular intervals – every 18 months to two years – for twelve years.  My family grew steadily, and we rejoiced and thanked God for every blessing.  We knew He would plan our family perfectly!  And while I knew there would be an end, I didn’t know when it would be for us.

I still don’t know that it is the end, but as I mentioned before, my “baby” is going on five years old.  When that tiny tooth came out, in the middle of dinner, and I exclaimed and teared up and declared her to be “so old” yet “still my baby,” my family chimed in.

We listed all the things that are no longer part of our lives….nursing, diaper bags, pacifiers, sippy cups, strollers, and car seats.  And then my kids melted my heart when they expressed their desire for more siblings.

“I want a baby brother!”  My youngest boy is my number three child, with five sisters following him.  Since he was able to talk, he’s been wishing for a little brother, and as a teenager, he still feels that way.

“I want TWIN baby brothers!”  The idea of a baby boy is a novelty after the string of girls, so that sentiment is shared.  And of course…twins!  So much more exciting.

“Hey, maybe Baby Sawyer is already on the way.”  My oldest son, who is practically a man (sob!) chimed in with this comment, accompanied by a big grin.  We had the name Sawyer picked out for the last three pregnancies, and yes, it was due to our obsession with LOST.

I smiled through my mixed emotions and thought, “Wow.  God is so good!”

In January, I wrote about the sense of failure I struggle with, never feeling I am doing a good enough job with my family.  This night, though….the night of the Last First Loose Tooth….filled me with relief that something had gone right.  It was just a few minutes out of what might have been a difficult day, but to God be the glory!

There was no, and never is any, expression of, “Ugh, no!  No more babies!” from any of my children.  Sometimes you hear of kids from large families who grow up to renounce and detest the idea of many children.  My heart aches at that possibility, but so far, so good.

My children know family is important.

My children know babies are blessings.

My children know siblings are valuable.

Mama might be crazy, but she sure is blessed!

 

 

 

 

Family is Everything

I spent the first six years of my life surrounded by extended family. My cousin Joey was my first best friend, and our moms helped each other with life….one watching the kids while the other went shopping; drinking coffee and chatting on a regular basis. There were grandparent, aunts and uncles, and second cousins nearby, and very much in my life. Many of us would even go on vacation together every year, to a resort in the Catskills. I remember the entire caravan of cars pulling over when I got carsick. I’m not even sure how they made that happen without cell phones.

On Christmas Day, 30 years ago, my family moved to another state. My father’s profession is very specific, and jobs weren’t to be found just anywhere. He saw an opportunity and took it. My cousins then became my first pen pals. Family gatherings suddenly occurred only 2-3 times a year. It was a tough transition for my mom, I know, but as I remember, it was rather seamless for me.

Birthdays were celebrated with just my parents, my sisters, and myself.  Thanksgiving and Christmas were small affairs, as well.  There were no grandparents at choir and band concerts, talent shows, marching band competitions, or even my high school graduation party.  It sounds kind of sad, but in reality, I never felt the lack.  I credit my parents with that amazing feat.

They never spoke of the absence of family; at least not with us kids.  They made a lot of effort to keep those other relationships close, and didn’t complain when it seemed to be a one-way street.  But when it came right down to it, and those people were missing out on our growing up, my mom and my dad filled every gap.   We were always enough for each other.

When I began to have kids of my own, I started to realize what had been missing in my life.  The way my kids are growing up became a clear contrast to my own childhood.  While I never felt deprived, they surely are blessed.  Every birthday party is attended by grandparents, several aunts and uncles, and cousins.  Every soccer, basketball, and baseball game is attended by one or both sets of grandparents.  They’ve grown up in the same church as my in-laws, and more recently, my parents as well.  I’ve rarely needed to find a babysitter outside of the family.

Christmas Eve is always at my parents’ house (pizza bread, shrimp cocktail, and antipasto!).  After our own morning traditions on Christmas Day we head to my hubby’s parents’ house (ham, turkey, broccoli salad, pink stuff!).  Later in the day, my parents come by our house to hand out presents.  For Thanksgiving, we alternate years; each year content to be where we are, but missing the other side of the family, as well.

We do have family members out of state, most notably my sister and her family.  We miss them so much, but we make the effort to keep close, despite the distance.  We also have some family that we rarely see, though they are close by, and that is sad.  But our cup is overflowing, and I’m so thankful for that.  I’m thankful that God hasn’t put it on my plate to be far from family, as I know He’s done for others.

This fall, a wonderful thing happened to my family.  My grandma and step-grandpa moved to town!  We haven’t been able to visit them for several years, due to health-related issues.  Now they are only 25 minutes away, and will be present at birthdays, holidays, and many things in between.  My children are now getting to know their great-grandparents, which I think is amazing.  Their childhoods are so richly steeped in their heritage, and I hope that will resonate with them throughout their lives.

Family is not an important thing.  It’s everything.  ~ Michael J. Fox